A federal judge has granted final approval to a $336 million settlement favoring credit card holders who allege they were being unfairly charged for foreign currency transactions. To be precise, the 8-year old class action alleged that Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., conspired to overcharge consumers on foreign currency transactions.
Preliminary approval of the settlement was granted in 2006, and covered holders of US-issued Visa and MasterCard credit cards, as well as Diners Club and debit card holders who made foreign currency transactions between 1996 and 2006.
In a report on Reuters.com (Oct 21, 2009) Judge William Pauley of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan called the settlement "fair and reasonable." He noted that had the cardholders actually gone to court there was a good chance that they would not have recovered much of the $1.1 billion in fees at issue in the case. Of note, an amazing 10,075,834 claims were filed .
In addition to the money, the settlement required that card companies improve their fee disclosures.